"If the right to vote were expanded to seven year olds ... its policies would most definitely reflect the ‘legitimate concerns’ of children to have ‘adequate’ and ‘equal’ access to ‘free’ french fries, lemonade and videos." ~ Hans-Hermann Hoppe
An Anarchist"s View of Individual Rights vs. Collective Rights
In one of the most reasoned and well thought out articles I've had the pleasure of reading, Michael Tennant's article, "Know Your Rights" correctly takes us through how a right is obtained, what, by definition, a right is, and the history of our modern rights. He is kinder than you care to believe however, in that, by providing a link to the UN Declaration of Rights, he has also shown us how rights can be and most often are perverted. I have not provided the link here. Please go Michael's article for that.
After reading the UN Declaration of Rights, I asked myself two things. Why does anyone at the UN believe that I, as an individual, would subscribe to the rights as the UN has enumerated? After all, for now anyway, I'm still free to think as I believe. How do they believe that I am, or better yet, under what authority do they possess, to make me contractually obligated to accept these rights? After all, I am still an individual. Don't I have a right not to think like the group?
Why would I ask such questions?
Simple, the exercise of rights involves contracts. As I have written before, it is easier to create useless and aggressive codes and statutes; laws that really don't pertain to the interaction of individuals, as much as they pertain to individual interaction with the state. When funny money, fiat currency, colored money, whatever description you care, is in use, laws and rights take on different meaning, different use and include different substance. No substance backs our money; therefore nothing of substance backs our laws and transactions, and aggression by the state increases because laws are written that do not honor the individual. Furthermore, any contracts that you and I may still be left to be party to are colored in such a system, in that, nothing of value is ever exchanged between us. When I give you $500 Federal Reserve Notes for painting my house, all I have really done is given to you and transferred to you is the debt of the United States. You may then use that $500 yourself to purchase items that will be used as the collateral of the government debt. Don't believe me, so be it. Yet, that's the US Treasury's explanation, not my mine.
Looking again at the UN Declaration of Rights, and although it's not that it is proper or moral, but from a purely socialistic standpoint, we have, either by legislation or at the polls, already achieved those rights as enumerated. Our government taxes without discretion and redistributes in like manner. So do lots of countries, most in fact. Many, many things are redistributed. Food, jobs, incomes, property, anything at all, can be, and are usually subject to, redistribution. We love collective thought and collective goals because we have it amongst us the power to implement what we wish. We can, either at the polls or through fiat legislation, effect social change for the perceived good of society. That's a fact. But none of it would be possible without false laws and false rights by way of false money. Laws are written that prevent me from hiring who I want. This is clearly a violation of my God given and individual right to free association and free and unfettered disposal of property. Hence, my right of contract between myself and another is violated for the overall good of society. If you're gay or black, or Chinese or a woman or you're Muslim, I gotta hire you, or you can use fiat laws to sue me for not doing so, even if I just plain 'ol don't want you.
If I lived in a cave and never met another human being, lived off the land and so forth, I would never be in need of a contract with someone else. Ever! If one day I decided I needed food to store for the winter, I would have to enter into contract with another to provide it. The contract can spell out anything or everything as a way of honoring, or repaying, the contract. Five hundred pounds of cornmeal for five buffalo skins, for example. Individuals agree, individuals contract, contract satisfied, no more contract. It really does seem rather straightforward, and it is. Until the Sheriff of Nottingham, by way of fiat legislation and fiat currency, or the people of Nottingham, by way of majority vote, decide that they want a piece of this private contract. Like maybe a fee or tax on that cornmeal/buffalo skins transaction to pay for a hot meal for the senior citizens of Nottingham. Those outside the contract, the people of Nottingham, can only claim a right to interfere by way of force or fraud.
Few people, if any, seemingly think about themselves first, as individuals anymore, and instead are perfectly willing to sacrifice more for what's good for the society as a whole. People fail to understand how something as simple as currency backed by substance, i.e. gold and silver, can positively affect their individual rights and their right of contract with others. Would there be Social Security, Medicare or any other redistribution program if the right of individual contract were held in greater esteem than the overall well being of society? We have a system that uses false money, and this is the single reason we have seen such a proliferation of false rights over real rights. Ask yourself this, if we are a nation of laws and a law is created that makes it legal to kill all blondes, would the law be just? So if a law is created that steals from your neighbor, so that you can fix up your house or have a hot meal, whether by direct vote or legislation, is that just? Laws that do not value and respect the right of individuals to contract as they see fit are unjust and immoral. They should be ignored, but most of us, including me, don't have the balls to do that.
And still what's so cool about this fact is that any socialist scenario or thought or opinion can be shot full of holes when you understand the relationship between contract and substance. Any socialist notion or thought can be righteously skewered with reason and logic because contract and substance are everything to individual relationships. Anything, a law, a code, or statute that interferes with the relationship between individual contract and substance of contract is a violation of the most basic of enumerated rights, the right of happiness.
And maybe, just maybe, when more and more people begin to value and understand the right of individual contract and substance over collective rights, we will indeed reach and obtain the worthy and noble societal goals of the masses. But for that to happen, people must first be allowed to think and act for themselves first and society second, and not the other way around.